And, as expected by sane people, the speech was as politically "neutral" as humanly possible. Strangely, there were a lot of "indoctrinating" topics, such as individualism, working harder no matter the circumstances, and learning about math and science. Scary.
The obvious retorts to these outlandish and malicious fear-mongering tactics have been convincingly documented elsewhere. However, I thought I'd give one example of actual child indoctrination that few have considered but many if not most already are familiar with.
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
I was first asked to recite this in kindergarten. How many 5-year-old children do you know are fully capable of understanding that passage? Vocabulary rarely includes the word "indivisible" that early, and concepts of liberty and justice are maybe only beginning to develop at this stage.
According to the United States Flag Code:
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.", should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute."
You can imagine, or remember, day after day kids with their hands to their hearts reciting words they may or may not understand in unison. I've seen videos of cult members in awfully similar circumstances.
By the end of first grade, I began to think of the "ritual" as creepy. Soon, I began to refuse to recite the words, even though I made sure not to be noticed. By the end of elementary school, I was fully aware of the vocabulary and still refused to recite based on principle. It is something I have refused to take part in in every situation I have encountered since that time.
My problems with the text, or meaning, are minimal. Obviously, the "under God" addition is bothersome, and I believe a violation of the US Constitution. However, if people can comprehend its meaning and are willing to participate in its recitation, so be it. Requirements of its inclusion in schools is where I draw the line. Children in unison forced to recite words they may not understand or may disagree with -- that's indoctrination.
Tomorrow: Inspired by numerous events today on Facebook, I'll have an entry about "spam" infiltrating "social networks".